ICAN is excited to announce Ashley Barnes as our newest chapter leader! She has completed training and will be leading ICAN of Pensacola!
Tell us about the birth climate in your area.
Our chapter serves Pensacola, Florida (Northwestern Florida), including Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties, from Destin over to Cantonement. We have a lot of new doctors coming to the area that seem to be more in line with ACOG’s guidelines. I wish we had access to more VBAC friendly providers.
What drew you to ICAN?
I found out about ICAN through my friend Sheri Wesley, the chapter leader of Northern Nevada. Hearing her story and seeing and feeling her passion led me to start researching and referring everyone I knew to ICAN. I have always had a passion for supporting women and fellow moms and wanted to help raise awareness of cesareans and help women gain access to the option of a VBAC. I have never experienced a cesarean, however, as a birth doula who has supported over 50 women and their partners this last year and a half, I have supported numerous moms through their primary cesareans, TOLAC, VBACs and scheduled repeat cesareans. Watching what lengths these moms had to go through just to find a supportive provider, then having to navigate hostile hospital policies, and finally aggressively advocate for themselves during their births, opened my eyes to the huge need for ICAN in this area.
What part of being an ICAN Chapter Leader are you most excited about?
I’m so excited about being able to meet and support these women and their partners! I’m also really excited about the potential for building bridges and hopefully increasing access to VBAC friendly providers and facilities. The mindset of “once a cesarean, always a cesarean” is very prevalent here, so education is going to be key.
What do you wish other people knew about ICAN?
I wish people knew how inclusive ICAN is and that it is truly welcoming of any mom regardless of cesarean history or future birth choice. I also just wish more people knew about ICAN; I find that many people have never heard of this organization here.
Please share a little about yourself!
Someone would probably describe as a hard-worker, nice and approachable and slightly goofy. I am a Nevada native where I received my bachelors in Public Health. I met my husband on eHarmony and as a Florida native, convinced me to move cross country. I have two wonderful little boys ages 3 (almost) and 1.5. They make me want to pull my hair out but are super fun, most of the time. I am the co-owner of Pensacola Birth Services where I provide labor doula services as well as Lamaze childbirth education. I don’t have a whole lot of time for hobbies, but I do enjoy a good cup of coffee and adult conversations. My husband and I have “sacred Saturdays” where we unplug as much as possible and try and get outside to enjoy some family time.
Congrats, Ashley! Looking forward to seeing how you and your chapter impact your community!